Street Food in Bangkok, Buriram and on Koh Mak
Author: Sticks and Spoons
Being totally Foodies (but also working professionally as a Chef and Waitress) one of our strongest reasons to travel is to explore new food cultures. In this guide you'll find some of our best food spots we discovered in Bangkok to eat Streetfood but also a quick stop in Buriram for Song Kran festive foods and some Resort food on the islands.
If you love the genuine and traditional food you can find in Streetfood through the world we hope you find this small guide from Sticks & Spoons helpful when travelling for food to Thailand.
We traveled to Thailand in april (which is summertime in Thailand so it was pretty hot all the time) for a three week long vacation.
We were jumping between the big city of Bangkok to Sticks small hometown Buriram in the North East part of Thailand, then to two of Thailands Paradise Islands; Koh Chang and Koh Mak but to finish our Thailand-trip once again back in Bangkok.
So this Streetfood Guide will be covering some of the highlights of our journey.
We love eating; no doubt about that. It's pretty much the only things we plan thoroughly back home before doing a trip. And we use several ways to plan where to eat next.
One of them is reading Food Blogs from equally devoted Foodtravellers like us and we also read a lot of Travel Guides and Magazines online. So; prepare for a foodcoma - let's eat!
#1 Exploring the Street Food Scene in Bangkok - starting on the Streets of Nana and Siam
Nana Plaza and Siam Square is a great foodie spot to start at while exploring the vibrant Streetfood scene round Planchit Road and the City Centre!
Here you'll find fresh fruit stands, food carts serving grilled skewers, small open street-side restaurants cooking fresh fish, octopus and shellfish over open fire coal grills with just some plastic chairs and tables directly on the street basically.
We also had the luck to find a kind of Foodcourt (or Streetfood Hub) where a lot of locals eat their lunch and that's always a promising sign!
Sticks & Spoons Best Streetfood Explorer Tips!
Keep an eye on where the locals eat if you want to experience genuine, traditional Thai Cuisine! Some streetcorners with foodstands are empty of locals while others are packed and people stand in lines - there's a reason for that!
Don't know what to eat if there are several selections? Ask anyone in the queue or even the chef for their own favorite to eat or cook! That usually pays out. While asking; ask also if they can give you any tips on other great Streetfood Spots!
Be Bold and Adventurous! You can always eat "anything" at least once! Use common sense and don't eat where it's obvious that the hygiene isn't the vendors first priority or where food seem to have been ready for hours on the side of the heat. Otherwise - go for it if it looks tasty! If cooked at order it's probably as good as eating in a restaurant - if not even better!
Don't judge the Book by it's Cover! Some places may look a little sketchy or even shabby. We have seen our fair share of those places. But they can also be a hidden gem in their roughness so be open minded and you'll often get rewarded!
#2 Chatuchak Weekend Market
At Chatuchak Weekend Market you can buy almost anything at low prices making this market one of the most popular for shopping in Bangkok and a "must-visit" for tourists! You can go there by Skytrain.
It's also famous for being quiet a good food market. We actually didn't buy much more then food and some of the street food dishes were super!
We had some really delicious quail eggs freshly fried with just salad and spices - so good! Another dish we enjoyed at the market (and several times on our Thailand journey) was Meang Kam! Those small and spicy green packages are a favorite snack while strolling around Chatuchak Market.
Don't miss the Nr 1 Duck Noodle Stand of Chatuchak or all dessert stands with traditional thai sweets. Grab some lime ice tea (cha manau) and enjoy the crowdy and busy market!
Chinatown in Bangkok is one of the oldest and biggest Chinatowns in the World. It was founded back in 1782 and are often just called or referred to as "Yaowarat" after the main road going through the entire area; Yaowarat Road.
This place is truly a Streetfood Paradise! The amount of Streetfood stands are massive and you find everything within just minutes of walk on Yaowarat Road and the adjacent roads and alleys.
When going here we suggest you come hungry. Very hungry! Best and busiest time for streetfood is usually from five in the afternoon until late. Of course you can go much earlier and avoid the most hectic times but then you also miss out on some of the fun with streetfood!
In Chinatown most of the Streetfood is of a real good quality. You can find any kind of food here and you might need a second visit to be able to explore everything (at some time you get stuffed as well!).
You should take some detours and go through crowded alleys (or even dark dens) to find gems. Some paths ain't pretty but can be worth daring walking!
#4 Buriram Song Kran Festival Streetfood
We went to Sticks hometown Buriram in the North East of Thailand for a family reunion! We had such a great time with her family and friends! And of course that includes a lot of food! A lot. So much that even Spoons (who live and breath food 24/7) went to a shock! The Buriram Food Eating Traditions are hard to beat! Read about that and eating the infamous Ant Salad here!
There are two big markets in Buriram; the Morning Market (starting as early as four!) and the Night Market (open late obviously). We went to both of course. Sticks made some "power shopping" on the Morning Market and for the Night Market we were quiet stuffed to say the least but had one of the better Streetfood dishes so far! A simple omelette with mussels and oysters became a food memory for life!
While celebrating the crazy fun Song Kran Festival (should definitely also be experienced the traditional way) around the areas of the Thunder Castle Stadium, Chang International Curcuit and Buriram Castle we also visited the Festive Food Market. A huge area with people gathering enjoying food. That seem like a good Festival, doesn't it?
We had an exceptional grilled Enoki Mushroom wrapped in bacon flavored with a traditional fish sauce and that dish needed two servings due to deliciousness. We also had some crispy chicken, salads and snacks with Sticks family on the Streetfood Market.
The Buriram Food Scene isn't as versatile as in Bangkok by obvious reasons but we had great traditional Isan food and good times with Sticks family so kind of sad we went for the next food destination.
#5 Koh Mak and island "Street Food"
We had to have this entry in our Streetfood Guide! Going to Koh Chang and then Koh Mak was more about chilling on the beach, diving, sun bathing and exploring the islands but especially at Seavana Beach Resort we had great food!
The food was like a refined version of traditional Thai kitchens but also with a Streetfood felling on some dishes. The restaurant at the hotel and resort is brilliant and we managed to eat our way through the menu in just two days!
One instant food favorite was the Meang Kam (once again) and the spicy prawns. We made a short stop again on Koh Chang after Koh Mak enjoying Island Life before going back to Bangkok and a real Streetfood Gem!
#6 The Queen of Bangkok Street Food - Raan Jay Fai
We had read so much about Jay Fai online, heard stories, seen video clips and was more then psyched to visit her side-street restaurant and experience her streetfood. Known as the most expensive Streetfood at the time we didn't get discouraged more then our own expectations on her might be too high. We couldn't be more wrong!
This 71 year young Lady (she's 72 now) have been cooking at the same spot for over 60 years - her Mom owned the Restaurant at first and Jay Fai was only 11 years old when she started to cook! And the last 30 years every day in her now iconic outfit with ski googles and knitted cap she has made this restaurant legendary!
We ordered the infamous Crab Omelette and the Drunken Noodles from the menu and sure it was expensive but then of course the show is included!
While Spoons were mesmerized and in awe over Jay Fai's respect for the ingredients and perfect timing (with just two woks!) Sticks were amused hearing her gabble and nag in Thai on her team while cooking!
And the food...we were blown off the chair! It was truly something we hadn't experienced on a Streetfood level before and we were just overwhelmed by taste, texture, THE SIZE of those dishes and the love put into them.
For us as professionals in the restaurant business LOVE is the "6th Ground Taste"! We know; it's not even a "taste" yet it's crucial to make an ordinary dinner extraordinary and almost as hard as Umami to put a finger on. We have thought about it as a "Ground Taste" for a long time. There's magic happening when a chef love to cook; with the balance that unfolds in the depths of tastes, within the perfectly shaped ingredients and perfectly timed textures that pervasive the actual presentations.
That's the closest description we've come up with yet on what we think is one of the most elemental of Ground Tastes. We came up with it while eating on another lovely establishment; Paste in Bangkok but Jay Fai put this Ground Taste to new and higher levels. So for us it wasn't strange at all when Jay Fai was awarded one Michelin Star 2018!
So. Whatever you do when in Bangkok; be sure to take that extra cash from your travel budget and put it on some heavenly executed and utterly delicious Michelin Starred Streetfood at Raan Jay Fai! It's totally worth it!